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Archive for September 6th, 2009

A guide to all the James Bond films.  Whose in them, what they are about and most importantly should you see them.

  • Dr. No (1962)
  • Dir: Terence Young
  • Bond: Sean Connery
  • Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
  • M: Bernard Lee
  • Q: Peter Burton (credited as Major Boothroyd not Q)
  • Felix Leiter: Jack Lord
  • Principle Bond Girl: Honey Ryder played by Ursula Andress
  • Principle Villain: Dr. Julius No played by Joseph Wiseman
  • Basic Plot:  Bond is sent to Jamaica to investigate the murder of an agent.  The investigation leads him to Dr. No and his secret underground base on a private island.  No is planning to disrupt an American space launch using a radio beam Weapon.
  • Should I see it? Yes.  A great first Bond film made for just $1m making it the cheapest Bond film ever.
  • Random Trivia: Andress’ voice was dubbed.  Nikki van der Zyl provided the speaking voice and Diana Coupland the singing voice.

 Dr No

  • From Russia with Love (1963)
  • Dir: Terence Young
  • Bond: Sean Connery
  • Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
  • M: Bernard Lee
  • Q: Desmond Llewelyn
  • Priciple Bond Girl: Tatiana Romanova played by Daniela Bianchi (voice by Barbara Jefford)
  • Principle Villain: Blofeld (SPECTRE’s no. 1) is in charge but Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya) and Red Grant (Robert Shaw) are the memorable villains.
  • Basic Plot: As revenge for the death of Dr No and in order to obtain a Russian decoding machine SPECTRE coerces a young Russian embassy employee.  The complicated scheme worked out by a leading chess grand master is supposedly infallible and will result in the death and dishonour of Bond. 
  • Should I see it? Yes, the best Bond film
  • Random Trivia: The moves in the chess match at the start of the film is a re-enactment of a real match between Boris Spassky’s and David Bronstein.

 

  • Goldfinger (1964)
  • Dir: Guy Hamilton
  • Bond: Sean Connery
  • Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
  • M: Bernard Lee
  • Q: Desmond Llewelyn
  • Felix Leiter: Cec Linder
  • Principle Bond Girl: Pussy Galore played by Honor Blackman.  Special mention for Shirley Eaton as Jill Masterson (the one who is painted gold!)
  • Principle Villain: Auric Goldfinger played by Gert Frobe.
  • Basic Plot: Gold smuggler Auric Goldfinger plans to irradiate Fort Knox’s gold supply making it worthless and increasing the value of his own reserves.
  • Should I see it? Yes the most iconic bond film if not his best and the first appearance of the Aston Martin DB5.
  • Random Trivia:  The first Bond film to have a theme song over the opening credits.

 goldfinger

  • Thunderball (1965)
  • Dir: Terence Young
  • Bond: Sean Connery
  • Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
  • M: Bernard Lee
  • Q: Desmond Llewelyn
  • Felix Leiter: Rik Van Nutter
  • Principle Bond Girl: Domino played by Claudine Auger (voice by Nikki van der Zyl again!)
  • Principle Villain: Emil Largo played by Adolfo Celi, voice by Robert Rietty
  • Basic Plot: Bond is one of many 00 agents tracking following leads to the theft of nuclear weapons.  A trip to a health farm provides a vital clue.
  • Should I see it? Yes. Good solid fun, so good they made it twice.
  • Random Trivia: Very faithful to the book, but then it would be the script is based on the book that in turn was based on a screenplay.  The legal wrangling that followed allowed Never Say Never again being made and are too complicated to go into.

 Thunderball

  • You Only Live Twice (1967)
  • Dir: Lewis Gilbert
  • Bond: Sean Connery
  • Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
  • M: Bernard Lee
  • Q: Desmond Llewelyn
  • Principle Bond Girls: Kissy Suzuki played by Mie Hama and Aki played by Akiko Wakabayashi (before Bond both actresses were best known in Japan for appearing in monster movies)
  • Principle Villain: The best version of Erst Stavro Blofeld played by Donald Pleasence.
  • Basic Plot:  Bond investigates the theft/hijacking of spacecraft that threaten world peace.
  • Should I see it? Yes.  It represents the start of Bond descending into ridiculously unrealistic fantasy and I can not forgive it for that but it is an enjoyable film.
  • Random Trivia: screenplay by Roald Dahl

 You only live twice

  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
  • Dir: Peter R. Hunt
  • Bond: George Lazenby
  • Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
  • M: Bernard Lee
  • Q: Desmond Llewelyn
  • Principle Bond Girl: Tracy di Vicenzo played by Diana Rigg
  • Principle Villain: Ernst Stavro Blofeld Aka Comte Balthazar de Bleuchamp played by Telly Savalas
  • Basic Plot: Whist on leave Bond continues his search for Blofeld.  He falls in love with the daughter of a crime boss. 
  • Should I see it? Yes. Lazenby is rubbish and has no chemistry with Diana Rigg but the film is okay.
  • Random Trivia: As the books were filmed out of order there is a huge continuity error.  Despite having met him previously (in You Only Live Twice) Blofeld does not recognise Bond.  It was suggested in an early draft of the script that Bonds character has had Plastic surgery to disguise him from his enemies.  This would have fitted in with the change of actor.  The idea was dropped!

 

  • Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
  • Dir: Guy Hamilton
  • Bond: Sean Connery
  • Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
  • M: Bernard Lee
  • Q: Desmond Llewelyn
  • Felix Leiter: Norman Burton
  • Priciple Bond Girl: Tiffany Case played by Jill ST. John
  • Principle Villain: It’s Blofeld again along with new henchmen Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) and Mr Kidd (Putter Smith).
  • Basic Plot: Bond traces a diamond smuggling ring back to SPECTRE and a plot to build a space based weapon.
  • Should I see it? No it Connery’s only bad Bond and it is very bad
  • Random Trivia: Lana Wood who plays Plenty O’Toole made her film debut as the younger version of her sister (Natalie Wood)’s character in the John Wayne movie The Searchers.

 diamonds are forever

  • Live and Let Die (1973)
  • Dir: Guy Hamilton
  • Bond: Roger Moore
  • Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
  • M: Bernard Lee
  • Q: N/A
  • Felix Leiter: David Hedison
  • Priciple Bond Girl: Solitaire played by Jane Seymour.
  • Principle Villain: Dr. Kananga/Mr. Big played by Yaphet Kotto
  • Basic Plot: Heroin smugglers and Voodoo in New Orleans and Jamaica provide the backdrop for Moor’s first and possible best Bond film. Its plot is reasonably faithful to the book.
  • Should I see it? Yes, great film even though I don’t like Roger Moore as Bond.
  • Random Trivia: Parts of the film are intended to look and feel like a 70’s “blaxploitation” film

  • The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
  • Dir: Guy Hamilton
  • Bond: Roger Moore
  • Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
  • M: Bernard Lee
  • Q: Desmond Llewelyn
  • Priciple Bond Girl: Mary Goodnight played by Britt Ekland
  • Principle Villain: Scaramanga played by Christopher Lee
  • Basic Plot: Whist on a mission to find a solar expert bond stumbles across Scaramanga, the Man with the Golden Gun of the title and the words top assassin.
  • Should I see it? Not unless you are a die hard fan.  Its not much good and Christopher Lee’s talents are wasted.
  • Random Trivia Christopher Lee who plays Scaramanga is Ian Flemings Step-cousin.

 the man with the golden gun

  •  The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
  • Dir: Lewis Gilbert
  • Bond: Roger Moore
  • Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
  • M: Bernard Lee
  • Principle Bond Girl: Anya Amasovo (agent Triple X) played by Barbara (wife of Ringo Starr) Bach
  • Principle Villain: Karl Stromberg played by Curt Jurgens but Richard Kiels portrayal of “Jaws” is more memorable.
  • Basic Plot: Bond and Russia’s top agent “XXX” team up to locate missing submarines and end up uncovering a plot to destroy the world as we know it.
  • Should I see it? Yes defiantly, it is camp and cheesy but really good fun.
  • Random Trivia:  The first Bond film to take no more than the title from Ian Fleming’s Novel

 The Spy Who Loved Me

  • Moonraker (1979)
  • Dir: Lewis Gilbert
  • Bond: Roger Moore
  • Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
  • M: Bernard Lee
  • Q: Desmond Llewelyn
  • Principle Bond Girl: Holly Goodhead played by Lois Chiles
  • Principle Villain: Sir Hugo Drax played by Michael Lonsdale
  • Basic Plot: A space shuttle is hijacked mid air.  Bond is called in to investigate then it starts to get even more silly.
  • Should I see it? No possibly the worst Bond film ever and a feeble attempt to jump on the space bandwagon following the success of Star Wars (thanks for reminding me Ross)
  • Random Trivia: The story differs so much from the novel a novelization based on the screenplay was written by screenwriter Christopher Wood.  This was his second novelization, the first was for The Spy Who Loved Me.

 moonraker

  • For Your Eyes Only (1981)
  • Dir: John Glen
  • Bond: Roger Moore
  • Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
  • M: N/A
  • Q: Desmond Llewelyn
  • Principle Bond Girl: Melina Havelock played by Carole Bouquet
  • Principle Villain: Aristotle Kristatos played by Julian Glover
  • Basic Plot Many unused elements of various Ian Fleming Novels and short stories where cobbled together in a plot that I really can’t remember, something about a  marine biologist getting killed and bond looking for a sunken ship.  There is a good car chase with bond driving an unlikely car.
  • Should I see it? Probably not, maybe I should because I really don’t remember much about it!
  • Random Trivia: Despite not being very good and opening just two weeks after Raiders of the Lost Ark the film performed well at the box office and helped save United Artists from Bankruptcy.

 for your eyes only

  • Octopussy (1983)
  • Dir: John Glen
  • Bond: Roger Moore
  • Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
  • M: Robert Brown
  • Q: Desmond Llewelyn
  • Principle Bond Girl: Octopussy played by Maud Adams
  • Principle Villain: Kamal Khan played by Louis Jourdan
  • Basic Plot: A convoluted plot that starts with the murder of 009 and leads to an attempt to detonated a nuclear bomb on an American air base in Germany. Along the way there is a story about Faberge eggs and a “female octopus Cult???”.
  • Should I see it? No it is a real contender for worst Bond film ever.
  • Random Trivia: the first MGM Bond film after the merger with UA

 Octopussy

  • A View to a Kill (1985)
  • Dir: John Glen
  • Bond: Roger Moore
  • Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
  • M: Robert Brown
  • Q: Desmond Llewelyn
  • Principle Bond Girl: Stacey Sutton played by Tanya Roberts
  • Principle villain: Max Zorin played by Christopher Walken
  • Basic Plot: A new twist on the Goldfinger plot.  This time the villain intends to corner the market in microchips by flooding Silicon Valley.
  • Should I see it? Only to celebrate the end of Roger Moore as bond, not before time!
  • Random Trivia: Patrick Macnee becomes the fourth Avenger/New Avenger to appear in a Bond film

 a view to a kill

  • The Living Daylights (1987)
  • Dir: John Glen
  • Bond: Timothy Dalton 
  • Moneypenny: Caroline Bliss
  • M: Robert Brown
  • Q: Desmond Llewelyn
  • Felix Leiter: John Terry
  • Principle Bond Girl: Kara Milovy played by Maryam d’Abo
  • Principle villains: General Georgi Koskov played by Jeroen Krabbé and Brad Whitaker played by Joe Don Baker.
  • Basic Plot: A fake defection of Russian general leads to a weapons smuggling plot.
  • Should I see it? Yes, it is a darker more brooding and violent Bond, ahead of its time.
  • Random Trivia: The scene where Bond deliberately misses when he is supposed to shoot a Russian sniper (who turns out to be an attractive female civilian) is based on the short story “The Living Daylights” that was published in the same book as Octopussy
  • Licence to Kill (1989)
  • Dir: John Glen
  • Bond: Timothy Dalton
  • Moneypenny: Caroline Bliss
  • M: Robert Brown
  • Q: Desmond Llewelyn
  • Felix Leiter: David Hedison
  • Principle Bond Girls: Pam Bouvier played by Carey Lowell and Lupe Lamora played by Talisa Soto
  • Principle Villain: Franz Sanchez played by Robert Davi
  • Basic Plot:  A drug lord kidnaps Felix Leiter and his new wife, she is raped and killed, he is fed to a shark and left for dead.  Bond resigns from the secret service and goes after the drug lord to seek revenge.
  • Should I see it? Yes it has its problems but is not a bad film.  Look out for a young Benicio Del Toro
  • Random Trivia: The first Bond film not to take its name from an Ian Fleming Novel or Short story

 licence to kill

  • GoldenEye (1995)
  • Dir: Martin Campbell
  • Bond: Pierce Brosnan
  • Moneypenny: Samantha Bond
  • M: Judi Dench
  • Q: Desmond Llewelyn
  • Felix Leiter: None but Jack Wade played by Joe Don Baker fills a similar role
  • Principle Bond Girl: Natalya Simonova played by Izabella Scorupco but Xenia Onatopp played by Famke Janssen is far more memorable
  • Principle Villain: Plot spoiler Alec Trevelyan/006/Janus played by Sean Bean.  As above Xenia Onatopp played by Famke Janssen is far more memorable.
  • Basic Plot: Bond has to stop a satellite based EMP weapon being used to cause financial meltdown in London.
  • Should I see it? Yes, it is Pierce Brosnan’s first and only good Bond.  It is actually one of the best ever.
  • Random Trivia: John Woo was asked to direct but turned it down.

 

  • Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
  • Dir: Roger Spottiswoode
  • Bond: Pierce Brosnan 
  • Moneypenny: Samantha Bond
  • M: Judi Dench
  • Q: Desmond Llewelyn
  • Felix Leiter: None but Jack Wade played by Joe Don Baker fills a similar role
  • Principle Bond Girl: Wai Lin played by Michelle Yeoh
  • Principle Villain: Elliot Carver played by Jonathan Pryce
  • Basic Plot: Bond investigates media mogul Elliot carver and uncovers his plot to start a war just so he can cover it on his new news channel.
  • Should I see it? It has some good things about it but on the whole not that good.  For Bond fans only.
  • Random Trivia: look out for Gerard Butler as a crew member on HMS Devonshire

 Tomorrow Never Dies

  • The World is not Enough (1999)
  • Dir: Michael Apted
  • Bond: Pierce Brosnan 
  • Moneypenny: Samantha Bond
  • M: Judi Dench
  • Q: Desmond Llewelyn
  • Priciple Bond Girls: Elektra King played by Sophie Marceau or Dr. Christmas Jones played by Denise Richards; you decide. Personally I would have liked to have seen more of Maria Grazia Cucinotta
  • Principle Villain: Renard played by Robert Carlyle.
  • Basic Plot: Bond plays bodyguard to an oil heiress, this gets convoluted with a plot to kidnap M and set off a nuclear device.
  • Should I see it? No, a couple of good set pieces can’t save this rubbish.
  • Random Trivia: The World Is Not Enough is a translation of: Orbis non sufficitthe, the Bond family motto as mentioned in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

 le monde ne suffit pas

  • Die Another Day (2002)
  • Dir: Lee Tamahori
  • Bond: Pierce Brosnan 
  • Moneypenny: Samantha Bond
  • M: Judi Dench
  • Q: John Cleese
  • Principle Bond Girl: Giacinta ‘Jinx’ Johnson played by Halle Berry
  • Principle Villain: Gustav Graves played by Toby Stephens.
  • Basic Plot: Bond is captured by North Koreans, after being released he goes AWOL (again) to find out who betrayed him.
  • Should I see it? No this is probably the worst Bond film ever made.  It descends far too far into fantasy and the plot relies too much on silly gadgets.
  • Random Trivia: As the 40th anniversary of the first Bond film it is filled with references to other Bond Films.  There is also a scene where Bond is has a copy of “Birds of the West Indies” the author of this book was called James Bond, this is where Ian Fleming got the idea the character name from.

 Die Another Day

  • Casino Royale (2006)
  • Dir: Martin Campbell
  • Bond: Daniel Craig
  • Moneypenny: N/A
  • M: Judi Dench
  • Q: N/A
  • Felix Leiter: Jeffrey Wright
  • Principle Bond Girl: Vesper Lynd played by Eva Green
  • Principle Villain: Le Chiffre played by Mads Mikkelsen
  • Basic Plot: Bond has to defeat a terrorist banker in a game of high states poker (changed from baccarat in the book).
  • Should I see it? Yes this is a real return to form for Bond partly as they were able to use the basic plot from the original Novel.
  • Random Trivia:  The Skyfleet S570 plane is actually a 747 with cosmetic modifications to make it look like a prototype.  It can be seen in the background of the Top Gear Test Track.

 

  • Quantum of Solace (2008)
  • Dir: Marc Foster
  • Bond: Daniel Craig 
  • Moneypenny: N/A
  • M: Judi Dench
  • Q: N/A
  • Felix Leiter: Jeffrey Wright
  • Principle Bond Girl:  Camille Montes played by Olga Kurylenko
  • Principle villain: Dominic Greene played by Mathieu Amalric
  • Basic Plot: a direct sequel to Casino Royale, Bond goes after the Quantum organization to avenge Vesper’s death.
  • Should I see it? Only if you enjoyed Casino Royale.  It is more of the same but not as good.
  • Random Trivia: Although many Bond girls characters have been from Russia or the Soviet Union Olga Kurylenko is the first to actress to play a Bond girl actually born in Soviet Union (Ukraine). 

 Quantum of Solace

Unofficial Bond Films:

 

  • Casino Royale (1954)
  • Dir: William H. Brown Jr
  • Bond: Barry Nelson
  • Priciple Bond Girl: Valerie Mathis played by Linda Christian
  • Basic Plot: Made for American TV a one hour play based arounf the baccarat scene from the novel.  Bond is now an American called Jimmy and there is an English character called Clarence Leiter who is a sort of amalgam of Felix Leiter and Rene Mathis.
  • Should I see it? Interesting for Bond fans, casual viewers don’t bother.

 Casino Royale (1954)

  • Casino Royale (1967)
  • Directed by: Various
  • Bond: David Niven
  • Basic Plot. A spoof version. Bond now Sir James bind comes out of retirement to investigate the killing of other spies.
  • Should I see it? No it is a mess of a film than only has a few funny moments.

 Casino Royale (1967)

  • Never Say Never Again
  • Dir: Irvin Kershner
  • Bond: Sean Connery
  • Moneypenny: Pamela Salem
  • M: Edward Fox
  • Q (referred to as Algy): Alec McCowen
  • Felix Leiter: Bernie Casy
  • Principle Bond Girl: Domino Petachi played by Kim Basinger
  • Principle Villain: Maximillian Largo played Klaus Maria Brandauer
  • Basic Plot: A remake of Thunderball that follows the same basic story. 
  • Should I see it? Yes. It looks a little dated but is better than the official Bond films of the era. 
  • Random Trivia: The name of Largo’s ship the “Flying Saucer” is a direct translation of “Disco Volante” the name of the ship from Thunderball. 

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